Published by Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Printed at William Gibbons & Sons Ltd on behalf of Kelsey Publishing Ltd,Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry's Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG. Tel: 01959 541444. Fax: 01959 541400.Email: email@example.com. Website: www.kelsey.co.uk. ©2013 ISBN: 978-1-907426-48-3
he Fairey Swordﬁsh story is one of an aircraft initially frownedupon when it entered service in 1936, respected by thebeginning of the Second World War and deemed legendaryby the time peace was declared. The world must have lookedon in awe at our powerful Royal Navy and its large carriers and withequal bemusement at the seemingly fragile biplanes, with theirsingle torpedo and light armament upon their decks.However, the Swordﬁsh was the only torpedo bomber we had insigniﬁcant numbers at the beginning of the war and it would proveto be so much more. Designed with one role in mind, the Swordﬁshevolved into one of the most versatile of Naval aircraft. Its slowspeed, which was criticised from the outset, proved to be one of itsstrengths, especially when it came to anti-submarine work, in whichit claimed 21 U-boats sunk between April 1940 and December 1944. The later combination of RPs and ASV radar made the Swordﬁshparticularly eﬀective against U-boats and shipping, of which itclaimed over 300,000 tons sunk.Aﬀectionately nicknamed the ‘Stringbag’, the aircraft achieved anoutstanding war record beginning with operations in Norway, whereevents could have been much diﬀerent if the Royal Navy was notforced to divert its attention elsewhere. The attack on the Italianharbour at Taranto that crippled the Italian Navy displayed what theaircraft was capable of and that it was clearly not be under estimated. The Swordﬁsh also played an important role in the invasion of Madagascar which kept the Japanese at bay early on in the war. Thebravery displayed by the aircrew during the attacks on theBismarck is legendary, while equal, but fruitless courage wasexhibited during the ill-fated Channel Dash. The latter incident, inparticular, not only says a lot about the aircraft, but also about thecrews. They were under no illusion, being aware that the Swordﬁshwas not the best aircraft they could have gone to war in but theywould ﬁght in to the death nevertheless. Regardless, it outlived itsoperational replacement, the Albacore by some years, mainlybecause the Swordﬁsh was more suited to escort carrier andMac-ship operations, a duty it carried out to the bitter end,protecting convoys far and wide.While the big Swordﬁsh subjects are covered in this ICON title, Ihave attempted to include the action from the TAG’s point of view,which was not just along for the ride. Contributions from twoex-TAGs are included; sadly neither of them is with us today so I willbe donating their royalties to the RNHF to help keep its wonderfulSwordﬁsh ﬂying. Also, Ray Sturtivant, who we also lost a few yearsago, was always keen to help me when he was alive and like so manyresearchers and aviation historians his work continues to aid us all,even though he has passed on. I will also be donating his royalty tothe RNHF.On the subject of raising money for the RNHF, if you would like tohelp, the Fly Heritage Trust Supporters Group is the route to take. Thetrust can be easily found online or see website: www.fnht.co.uk/ join_supporters_club.html
THE RUGGED AND RELIABLE ‘STRINGBAG’
Don Bunce (Contributor), Darrell Burge (Airﬁx),Katie Campbell (RNHF), Owen Cooper (Contributor),Rebecca Gibbs (Sub Editor),Bill Harrison (Contributor), Andy Hay (Artwork),Sue Keily (Ad Sales Manager),David H Smith (Contributor),Les Sayer (Contributor), Paul Silk (Design),Ray Sturtivant (Contributor),Rob Terry (Design)
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Several members of 813 Squadron at Blidaare told by the photographer, ‘walk towards the camera, and look happy doing it’! Fromleft to right our jolly subjects are: Sub Lt P CHeath, Sub Lt G A Donaghue, Sub Lt D R Mudd,Sub Lt R S Hankey (Senior Pilot), Sub Lt HO’Donnell, Lt Cdr C Hutchinson (CO), Sub Lt RD Pears, Sub Lt D Walker and ‘unknown’.(
Cover Photo Dramatic view (one not often seen of a Stringbag) of the RNHF’s LS326 over Lyme Bay en-route from Yeovilton to Culdrose on July 19, 2011. The aircraft is being own by Lt Simon Wilson, with AET Mark Connell and the ex-CO of RNAS Yeovilton, Cdre Paul Chivers OBE in the back.
THEFLEE TAIRARM’SVERSA TILE,LONGSER VING,LEGENDAR Y‘STRINGBAG’